Meru Miraa traders applaud Ruto, Linturi for dismissing Muguka ban  

By Harun Mugambi

Following a recent move by President William Ruto and the Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi’s dismissal of the ban on Muguka in Taita Taveta, Kilifi, and Mombasa counties are “null and void,” traders and residents in Meru have expressed strong opinions.

John Ratanya, a Miraa trader in Makandara, Meru Town, criticized the initial bans, highlighting their detrimental impact on the local economy.

John Ratanya, a Miraa trader in Makandara, Meru Town

“It was wrong to ban Miraa in Mombasa and other coastal towns. Our livelihoods depend on this trade,” Ratanya asserted.

His sentiments were echoed by Stephen Kinyua, a trader, who emphasized the need for the allocated funds to benefit farmers directly.

 “It’s bad to ban Miraa. The money given for value addition should be used for the good of farmers. I laud the leaders who attended the meeting at State House to deliberate on Miraa and Muguka issues,” Kinyua said.

Stephen Kinyua, a Miraa trader in Makandara, Meru Town

He further stressed the importance of recognizing Miraa as a cash crop.

“Miraa should be settled as a cash crop once and for all,” he said.

Mungathia Mutugi, a resident and trader in Meru, also criticized the ban, underscoring the significance of Miraa to the community.

“Banning Muguka was not justifiable. The government needs to consider the economic implications for us,” Mungathia remarked.

The announcement by the president has sparked relief among traders, who now look forward to a consultative forum to address their concerns.

President William Ruto addresses Embu Delegation During a meeting held at State House, Nairobi to discuss muguka tribulations/Photo Courtesy

The forum, as directed by the President, aims to resolve issues surrounding the regulation of Miraa and Muguka, ensuring that the interests of farmers and traders are safeguarded.

The controversy over the Muguka ban escalated when Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, along with Meru leaders, visited Mombasa to challenge the prohibition imposed by Governor Abdulswamad Sheriff Nassir.

Prominent figures like Martha Karua and Senator Aaron Cheruiyot have criticized the ban, highlighting its negative impact on the livelihoods of farmers and traders.

“In the matter of the muguka ban by Mombasa County and Kilifi County what is the position of  (the Ministry of Agriculture) because of the Crop (Miraa) Regulations 2021 which recognizes both Miraa and Muguka as legitimate, there is an urgent need to resolve this contradiction,” Karua tweeted on her official X account.

“It’s a noble thing for the coastal counties to seek to regulate the distribution of Muguka in their turf. However, the truth is counties have NO such powers,” Aaron Cheruiyot has insisted. This comes after two Kenyans filed a lawsuit in Mombasa to challenge the ban on Muguka, Peter Odhiambo and Michael Mutembei, also want the three county governments barred from executing the orders.

The national government’s intervention, with President William Ruto and Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi declaring the bans “null and void,” has provided hope for further dialogue and policy development to support the Muguka trade.

As the debate continues, the traders and residents of Meru remain hopeful that the national government will uphold policies that support their livelihoods and recognize the importance of Miraa as a cash crop.

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